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Lack of Big Name Re-Signings A Concern for the Riders?

Published: Friday, Jan 12th 2024, 1:01pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


The Riders entered the offseason with a large amount of potential free agents (37 to start) and while some have been brought back (or released), is it time to start worrying about the lack of re-signings? Are you concerned about the lack of big name players for the team not being re-signed? 


I’m starting to feel that way about certain positions.


I know that with a new Head Coach in Corey Mace, we will see changes. I also know that some of the Toronto Argonauts free agents will follow him and come to Saskatchewan. We might even see that with some Calgary Stampeders players who have connections to Mace and new Riders Offensive Coordinator Marc Mueller.


But still, part of me is a bit worried as we approach one month away from all CFL teams (legally) being able to talk to potential free agents from other teams.


My main concern is on the O-Line. Now, there needs to be change there for sure, but I can not figure out how the anchor of that group, Logan Ferland, has not been re-signed yet. Peter Godber is the only starter from last year that is locked up for 2024. Sure, we’ll see a new left tackle, but what about Evan Johnson, Colin Kelly or Philip Blake? Johnson improved a lot towards the end of last year, Kelly was solid at Right Tackle before being injured and Blake, despite his age, can play anywhere on the line and still be a productive member of the group. Noah Zerr is a nice addition, but has limited playing time around the league. Logan Bandy, Zack Fry and Evan Floren provide youth and I’d expect one of them to become a full time player this year, but there isn’t a lot of experience signed on for a positional group that gets better with experience.


I also wonder about the D-Line with Micah Johnson, Pete Robertson and Anthony Lanier II all pending free agents. I’d like to see Micah back and I do expect him back, especially since he’s been doing a lot of community appearances this offseason, but the idea of losing 2 or perhaps all 3 of these guys is a cause for concern. Despite down years (mostly, not playing to their bumped up salaries in 2023), Robertson and Lanier II can still be important parts of this team. The Riders typically have no problem finding Defensive Ends to rush the passer, so maybe they let Robertson walk, but Lanier’s ability to play both tackle and end makes him more valuable. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more news from the D-Line, outside of Miles Brown’s extension and the signing of seldom used Tre’ Crawford.


Not that I’m saying ALL of these guys need to be brought back (after back to back 6-12 seasons, you don’t want all these guys back), it’s just surprising to me that we’ve only seen 5 or 6 re-signings since the season ended, with only C.J. Reavis being the only for sure starter brought back. 


Certainly, Trevor Harris restructuring his contract will help and hopefully in the next little while, we’ll see a few more of the big name players brought back by General Manager Jeremy O’Day.


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